George School Celebrates the Class of 2017

Head of School Sam Houser led the processional of one hundred and twenty nine seniors into the auditorium, which he followed with welcoming remarks.

On Sunday, May 28, 2017 students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends gathered in the William Penn Outdoor Auditorium to celebrate the Class of 2017 during the school’s one hundred and twenty third commencement ceremony.

This year’s graduating class included students from Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Georgia, California, China, the Bahamas, Switzerland, and Brazil. A clear sky, radiant sunshine, and a seventy-degree temperature made the day picture perfect.

Head of School Sam Houser led the processional of one hundred and twenty nine seniors into the auditorium, which he followed with welcoming remarks. Bill Cui ’17 delivered the invocation “In Search of That Light.”

After a period of silent worship, Sam Houser took to the podium and once again spoke to the graduating class. As he addressed the graduates, he said, “George School has sharpened your emotions—it has made room for you to feel, as well as think. I am willing to bet that all of you are further along in your emotional development than the graduates of many other schools. You have had a chance to laugh openly, cry in public without embarrassment, and make art with the same seriousness that you do science. You have touched the hearts of individuals all around the world through your service, from right here in Newtown to Nepal to Arizona to South Africa, and just about everywhere in between. Your own hearts have been broken through your witness to inequality and suffering, and you have been empowered to do something about them.”

Class sponsors Shantel Hubert and Edna-Ann Valdepeñas began presenting the diplomas, which were interspersed with reflections from the graduates. As each student accepted his or her diploma, they placed a marble in a jar. The idea came from Katherine (Faith) Boucher ’17, who wanted to do something special for Sam, as this was his first George School commencement. “I thought the jar of marbles would look nice sitting on his window sill where the sunlight could shine through,” she said. “Sam will look at it and always remember how the class of 2017 let their light shine.” The marbles, each a different color and size, represent all one hundred and twenty nine members of the senior class.

Those giving reflections were Val LaVar ’17 who performed “Home” from the Wiz; Gabby Conard ’17 delivered a speech titled “What I’ve Learned;” Lisa Corn ’17 gave a speech she titled “In My Own Words;” Sydney Johnson ’17 and Charles Ryan ’17 performed “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye;” Yujia Jiang ’17 explained “Let Our Lives Speak” in her powerful speech; Richard Norris, III ’17 delivered an uplifting and influential speech titled “What a Beautiful Day;” and Noah Fischer ’17 and Tyler Mahlmann ’17 performed “A Beautiful City” from Godspell.

After the final diploma was handed out, Sam congratulated the class of 2017 one final time before inviting the crowd to sing along with George School’s newest alumni to the George School hymn.

View photo galleries from commencement week.